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Employee management … simplified!

Tom Wall Published on 16 May 2011

If you’ve ever managed a team or even been a part of one, you probably know firsthand how challenging it is to get all your people to move together in the right direction at the same time. And although most managers rank employee management as the most important part of their job, they tend to avoid it because it’s also the most challenging aspect of their job.

Ironically, managing employees becomes more and more difficult as a result of avoiding this huge challenge from the very start.



So let’s be honest with ourselves. When it comes to work, most of us tend to do the jobs that we like to do first and save the jobs we don’t enjoy doing for last. And employee-related issues usually fall to the bottom of the list.

Sure, most of the time you have a perfectly good reason for not dealing with employee management issues. The truth is that you’re probably really busy taking care of all the other important jobs you’re responsible for.

But ultimately, employee management requires just two things ... employees and managers.

It seems that identifying employees is usually pretty easy. Employees are the ones who do the “real work.” They’re on the front lines getting things done. They’re the ones who perform tasks that produce tangible goods that can be measured. Without a doubt, their output is critical to your company’s success.

Identifying managers, however, tends to be a little more difficult. Managers are responsible for making sure the “real work” gets done correctly and efficiently. The real value of their role lies in the ‘multiplier effect.’


Instead of just being one person doing the work of one person, managers spread themselves over numerous employees, making sure every individual is on the right track and delivering the desired outcome.

Although some people don’t consider managing “real work,” the bottom line is that managers are doing the work that “really matters.” Without managers following up with employees and ensuring they’re staying on course, the company’s performance is sure to suffer.

The problem that most managers face is choosing the correct fork in this road we call Work ... should they choose to do the “real work,” or the “work that really matters”?

As you might imagine, a lot of managers prefer staying busy and choose the path called “real work.” And you can hardly blame them, right? That’s where a lot of the stuff you enjoy doing is found ... field work, equipment repairs, operating machinery and herd health. That’s the tangible stuff that other people see and you can measure.

Your team notices that you’re not afraid of doing “real work” and you don’t need to justify how busy you are because everybody can see how much you do. Not to mention, that’s the work you’ve been doing for a long time and you’re good at it.

But now, both your dairy’s employees and its managers are cruising down the same path doing the “real work.” They’re miles apart and too busy working to worry about what the others are doing. Everyone’s occupied, doing the “real work” while no one on the team is managing, doing the “work that really matters.”


However, when the manager finally turns around to see what the employees have been up to, he finds that they veered off course a while back and he needs to fix the problems created while he was too busy doing the work he prefers to do.

When it comes to employee management, there’s no doubt that your dairy needs both employees and managers. It’s probably pretty easy to identify the employees who do the “real work” ... but who’s truly managing and focusing on the “work that really matters”? PD

Tom Wall